Tag Archives: creativity

Do you like your art or not?

Do you like your art? It’s a tricky question since it’s easy to doubt yourself. How do you judge whether it’s good art or not? It’s in the eye of the beholder unless you’re a person who judges art on how close it comes to “reality.”

Everyone’s reality is different, and that’s why we use the saying “eye of the beholder.”

I judge the success of an art piece I make on how it feels. When it’s done, do I feel great about it? I sometimes feel good, but I know others won’t like it, and I’m usually proven right. However, that doesn’t matter; it’s all about unfolding and experiencing each piece of art.

It already exists on one level, maybe as an idea., and you work to make it look as close as possible to that idea, but it often doesn’t work out. The painting takes on an approach of its own. That’s when you have to trust the process.

You go to a museum to admire some art, but most of the displays leave you untouched. Art made from the artist’s passion will not fail to touch the deepest part of you. You have your favorites, and maybe a lot of people share your likes and dislikes, but art is something you can’t really judge.

Do you like your art or don’t you?

If you don’t, can you accept it without tearing yourself down? It is the sign of a mature artist to allow both likes and dislikes into their life as an artist. Most of what you paint does not transcend into the realm of “wow,” and more often than not, you leave the studio after a day of hard work, not wow.

Can you accept that the muse is absent?

It’s so easy to throw in the towel and say I’m not going to make art today. Maybe I’ll watch some Netflix series instead. It happens to me, but I take my commitment seriously. I’m too far in to give up my art making even if it’s not leading to a status of fame.

What if it unfurls your very soul with every bold step you take in the studio? If feels that way sometimes even if nothing makes sense. It doesn’t have to make sense to be enjoyable and productive.

Love your “uglys” as much as you love your inspired pieces. They all have a role to play in your life.

Accept it all! In the end, it doesn’t matter what you like and dislike. It’s just an opinion. Art lives a life of its own, and we are but its humble servants.

I just finished a mixed media piece, part of series of funky canvases that I have been making. I loved the previous ones, but this one is a definite “meh.”

funky houses, whimsical art
Do you like?

I also started a new painting that is 20×20″ in the intuitive style. I loved the background, and the face appeared on the side, but I’m stumped what to do next. Again, I’m sitting at the junction of ugly and possibilities. It could turn ugly or become an unexpected masterpiece.

a painting in progress
Do you like it or not>

It takes a level of bravery to continue. Each step is a step into the unknown. As artists, we create a new “life.” It’s often a frustrating way to go about one’s day, but it holds the promises of many treasures if we stick with it.

Acceptance is the key, but you can still have your opinions! 🙂

For more reading on the subject, this blog post is available: Why do you do what you do?

And this one: Pondering Authenticity.

Lots of love,

Maria

I have some of the new paintings in my Etsy shop now. You can check them out HERE.

Creativity, spirituality, and passion

Creativity has many faces, but when you boil it down, everything comes from the same source. Creating something can be a spiritual experience, and when you feel passion, you’re eager to launch yourself into the project.

When you’re stuck in your creativity, where do you feel it? I usually feel it like a wall in front of me. It’s a major effort to pick up the paints and get started. I push consciously through this gloom and make something, anything! So, if you feel into the stuckness or resistance, where do you feel it? Try to pinpoint what the exact feeling is like. Usually, it comes down to a vague fear or the fear of change. Every time you put paint to paper, there is change. What if you don’t like what you create?

You won’t.

The best strategy I know is to keep pn going. Put another layer of paint on, add some ephemera, write a poem even if it’s for yourself only. You can look at someone’s work that you admire. What element do you see that might look good in your art? Then make your own version of that feature.

When you’re in the creative flow, you feel the fire in your heart, and it’s a spiritual experience. That’s why all these above elements go together. You could exchange creativity for TRUST, spirituality for FAITH, and passion for PURPOSE.

By showing up and making stuff you grow your trust. As your trust grows you know faith. If it has worked before it will work again and again. When everything flows you feel as if you’re on purpose with your life. Ah, you say, this is what I’m supposed to do with my life.

The next morning:

I don’t feel anything; I don’t see why I should go back into the studio, I had a good day yesterday, that’s enough. Sometimes you have to go through the whole procedure to grow more trust. It is the simple act of sitting down or stand by the easel and push brush to paper.

Purpose is action

We think our purpose is something nailed down and sealed in the eternal times of our soul. In my experience it changes. It’s not something that can be controlled, only followed. Via action, you create your purpose. We fight this because we think we should be better, or have a greater goal in life. Creativity is change. It’s a constant flow so we need to learn to follow it. We crave that passionate flow. We try to recreate it, but you can’t, because no day is like the previous. All we can do is to make ourselves available to the flow and see what happens. It’s both mundane and mystical.

Starting on February 4, I’m offering a free 5-day creative self-care boost in my Facebook group. I will talk about this subject and also kick start some creativity via video or live stream. I haven’t decided yet. However, it will help you to get going and kick off February on the right foot. Sign up HERE unless you’re already on my mailing list.

I have made some art lately, but been lazy about taking pictures.

Here is a whimsical dog that doesn’t care for gossip! 😀

Creativity when resistance is overcome

The Dancer, an abstract



My etsy shop is chockful of beautiful unique things. There are some heart items just in time for Valentine’s Day. You can check them out HERE.

I hope you join me for the 5-day boost. You won’t regret taking another step toward deepening your creativity.

Here is another blog post that might inspire you: Creativity on fire.

For now, toodle-doo,

Maria

Inspiration, where is it?

Inspiration, where to find it. It can be found everywhere. I often hear that question: what inspires you?  

I get inspired mostly by doing. When I get bored with one type of creativity I make something else. How people can continue to paint in one style or one subject is incomprehensible to me, but it’s common. Maybe they don’t make art that often? 

I love to try new things. Lately, I have been tired of making my mosaics, so I got this songbird pattern from Ann Wood and hand sewed a little bird. I used scrap fabrics I had painted and dyed in the past.

inspiration
inspiration
inspiration
songbird

I had a problem with the legs, but it worked itself out. So much fun to stretch oneself. Inspiration is in trying, to immerse oneself in something totally new. I have sewn before, but never a soft sculpture like this. I think I must make more! 🙂

What fires you up? What could you try today? 

I joined a local ceramics class this fall, and clay is harder to work with than you think.  I find polymer clay much easier since it’s more elastic. 

I made a series of critters and the glazing came out completely different when fired than I had envisioned.  

Inspiration is trying and finding out that the outcome might not be what you expected, but that’s half the fun. 

inspriation
nspiration

critter inspiration

One thing I’ve learned: Surprise keeps the freshness of creativity alive. 

Today, think of something you’d love to try, but haven’t. Gather the materials, take a class or watch some YouTube videos for inspiration. Then try your own. 

The more you’re used to making things, the easier it is to get started and follow through. 

To stay inspired it’s important to show up in the studio every day.

Even if you can only devote 15 minutes a day, that is enough to keep that creative muscle strong and ready for action.

I know I can go back to my painting and my mosaics whenever I want, but trying new things spark ideas.  I get tickled by possibilities. 

We’re heading toward another weekend. If you had 15 minutes to spare for creativity, what would you do? 

Do it, and you might find yourself inspired enough to keep going… 

To find Ann Wood’s sewing patterns, go HERE.

I have found that people really like my goddess / spirit doll faces. You can check them out in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great weekend!

Love, Maria

For more inspiration, check out my previous post on how to make a spirit box with an old Altoids tin HERE. 

Finding clarity with hummingbird

Finding clarity is not always easy. I have wanted to be more clear about what I offer people to help them advance with their creativity.

One of the most valuable tools in seeking the next step on the journey is imagination. My mom said I always had a wild imagination, and I’m grateful for the gift! 🙂

How do you use your imagination to gain clarity?

I like to meditate and sometimes I go on a journey with my imagination.  Night dreams are possible guide posts to what is going on in your life, and through the gateway of imagination, you can re-enter the dream and get some answers.

On a journey into the unknown (or known however you see it) it is always great to bring a protector in the form of an animal. You would think bear or tiger or wolf would be the ones showing up, but I got a hummingbird leading the way.

For some reason I had complete confidence that this little bird could protect me if necessary. I don’t know if you’ve seen hummingbirds in action, but they are tough little warriors.

I read somewhere that hummingbirds evolved from a raptor in the time of the dinosaurs, but I’m not sure I believe that. Anyway…

Traveling with hummingbird, I went back into my night dream. I had missed an appointment with a man in a brown hat. I was in a room with my Mom and there was a sink that leaked. A full bucket of water sat under the sink and I wondered why no one had emptied it.

There was more to the dream, and the feeling was that I had screwed up somehow. The man in the hat had awakened me from a deep sleep.

I realized through my dream that I need to wake up and honor my “appointments.” Don’t miss important meetings due to sleep (unconscious behavior.) The water bucket was full and stagnant, and it was up to me to empty it.

Why wasn’t the leak fixed? No one cared enough to fix it.

Those were the major insights from the dream.

I have been at a crossroads for a while and it’s time to “empty the bucket.” Something new has to open up or I’ll be stuck (asleep) forever.

Dreams can tell you a lot of things, and so can art.

Intuitive art is often far from pretty, but it often holds many insights, just like dreams. In a way, they are both the same.

finding clarity with hummingbird
Honoring the hummingbird

Art = dream = imagination = creation.

To honor the hummingbird I painted this page, and a brown cow showed up as the gatekeeper to the unknown.

We have the power to create something new, something that is closer to the soul’s path.

I would have to say that spiritual experience is the closest to my heart, IS my heart. Art is something I DO, but it can have a deeper meaning, drawing me ever closer to Source.

There are so many variations of spiritual art, women’s empowerment, shamanistic art, religious art, but I don’t feel spirituality has to be labeled, and we don’t have to seek it through some path. We are already THERE.

The key is to recognize that fact and create that which makes us feel connected and feel GOOD in the moment.

Sometimes there are too many paths to follow. The mind says “do that, that artist is successful” or “try that style; it might be saleable.” “Follow the path of that shaman, they seem successful.”

The hardest part is to follow your own path. So much doubt and so many choices. They are all tricks by the mind.

Your heart is always true. Finding clarity in the heart is the purest form of clarity. However, when experiencing the heart there is no NEED to DO or make anything.

However, since we live in a 3D existence we have to move our bodies, so there might be a prompt, a glimpse of something intriguing to do that feels ignited with joy.  There is also a chance that everything will feel blah, but I call that a time of transition.

finding clarity with hummingbird
sheep standing on my head

I made another art journal spread where a sheep (or goat) showed up standing on my neck and obscuring my head.

Sheep are stubborn. Reading the message of this intuitive page, I saw that my image of clarity was obscuring real clarity. I had built the dang sheep as an excuse to not move forward.

But look at the heart that showed up under the belly of the sheep! It was moving into a lighter sense. I had the words Follow Your Heart cut out from a template I had made for another project. I never threw out the words, and they fit perfectly.

I say that all the time “follow your heart.” Well, it takes a lot of courage to follow your heart. Sheep and other stubborn folk may show up to stir up confusion.

They are only images of fear of change. You can’t blame the messenger…

I am more committed to exploring my inner landscape and making art from that. That might be the end of “pretty” art but the goal is to be more open to the mystery and see what happens.

How does that sound to you? Are you ready to delve more deeply into the mystery of you?

I’m going to blog more about it and you can subscribe to my blog or my newsletter (see upper right hand corner of this page to access both.) I wrote a recent blog post about Intuitive art versus Structured art.  

Maybe it will inspire you.

Lots of love, have a great weekend!

Maria

Masks we wear

Masks we wear are many and varied. One person can wear many masks or personas.  We swear the masks are who we are.

I could call myself an artist, a writer, a reader, a nature lover, a spiritual being, a woman. Some roles are more prominent than others. I could go on with more, but I’m already tired of thinking about all the roles I uphold. 🙂

masks we wear

I did some art journaling around masks and it got me thinking about what is behind everything.

We believe our mind is the sole creator of who we are. We have compartmentalized all that we know, all our experiences and beliefs of who we are and who everyone else is.

masks we wear

So much crap is stored “up there,” but to be honest it all hangs out in our energy. The brain doesn’t store all the images and beliefs. The brain is a glutinous mass that sends out and receives signals. (Simplified version.)

Just to digress a little… a bird is a bird, not wearing any masks, a cat is basically a cat, though I have seen mine wearing masks. However, on a more basic level all animals are what they are; they live by instinct.

The wind blows in the trees, the leaves bend naturally to the wind. They don’t say or think that it’s uncool to bend. They don’t have to wear any designer masks to BE.

After my morning ritual I was lifting my arm to scratch my neck and thought, who is lifting my arm? Is it my brain sending out signals? Yes, but there is more too it.

The impulse that got my brain sending out signals to lift my arm to scratch the itch was automatic as is much action involving my body.  We don’t think about it, just do it.

We take everything for granted until it doesn’t work any more.

To cut to the chase, the life force moves the impulses and also creates my art. It makes the whole world go around, sometimes with terrible force like hurricanes.

We are NOT the roles we play.

Roles can only hinder the latent creativity that lies underneath it all.

It can be scary to remove masks. Vulnerability is something we protect at all cost.

However, creativity is vulnerability. If you don’t dare to show up as yourself and you express an artist persona or only copy art that is the latest “trend,” you miss out.

Sometimes I get stuck in limbo between stepping up and “taking action” (as in forcing something to happen,) versus allowing things to unfold at its own pace. It takes courage to stand vulnerable in front of your art. There can be a lot of creative angst yet the reward is great if you follow through and don’t give in to all the imagined monsters in the mind.

We have a great fear of being judged unfavorably. Seeking approval is one part of the mask we have built up. Truth to tell, who gives a sh*t what others think about your art??

We are the hardest judge. We compare the art to the accepted norm and find it falling short of expectation.

What a buzz killer that is.

You have a choice. Do you keep going or do you give up? Do you forgive yourself and allow the art to be just as it is?

We go through many stages as an artist. There are no shortcuts so we might as well enjoy the journey and revel in the moments that feel perfect as everything falls together without barely an effort.

Those moments become more numerous with time, but there is no guarantee.

Be the explorer of a new continent that does not have boundaries like land. Live in the moment and let the wind sing in your “leaves.” That is true art. 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. If you want to explore art journaling but doesn’t know where to start, sign up for my artist email newsletter and get a free art journal primer. SIGN UP.

Who is in charge?

Who is in charge? You or your ego / resistance?  I know I have written about that before, but through my experience over time, I have realized that inspiration is not some kind of random thing that only comes to a lucky few.

Inspiration is a good habit to grow in your art practice. Inspiration is not a fickle muse or a random occurrence. It is yours to command if you show up consistently.

In charge
Who is in charge?

I wasn’t going to write a blog post today, but I had promised myself to write one this week. Kinda late in the game since it’s Saturday. My excuses were:

I’m not inspired

I have nothing to say

I’m too tired to write now

I’d rather be painting (when would that ever be an excuse??)

When I show up to paint, I get the same bullsh*t excuses. Life would just go by without me accomplishing anything I have set out to do.

I have “make art” written on every day of my calendar. I do miss some days, but for the most part I show up even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes at the current painting or art journal page.

I count my crafts as art too since I’m using my creativity. Here is what I made today.

mermaid polymer clay mosaic
Believe in magic

I woke up and really wanted to get going on this mermaid.  Part of me said, go for it, the other said, sleep in.

There will always be some bullsh*t excuse for not doing what we know will make us happy.

Same crap as with exercising regularly…

Saying “no” to the resistance is a muscle that can be toned and strong. At one point the resistance gets the message and moves over a bit so that you can get to the action you want quickly.

The point is to stick with the action you have set for yourself. If that is “do more art” it’s something that is “holy.” There is no argument allowed and as “do more art”  becomes a habit, you have won.

Remember though, resistance will always be there lurking in the background, but if you have set a “no compromise” status for yourself things have to move forward or YOU will feel like crap while resistance smirks in the background. Been there too many times.

If you expect inspiration to be there, IT WILL BE.

Excuses are not allowed.

mermaid polymer clay
Believe in magic

NOW, go do it! 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. My free 2017 art journaling challenge is going strong. If you’d like to have the prompt emails. sign up HERE. Guest teacher for March will be Julia Ostara.  The mermaids are available in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.